Sheldon’s friend and mentor, the college physics professor Dr. John Sturgis, played by actor Wallace Shawn, was absent from the premiere episode of Young Sheldon Season 3, Episode 1, titled Quirky Eggheads and Texas Snow Globes, which aired on CBS on Thursday.
His absence in the season premiere came after Young Sheldon Season 2 finale, which aired in May, ended with Sturgis suffering a nervous breakdown. His breakdown came after he realized that he may never achieve his dream of winning a Nobel Prize.
At first, Sheldon’s mother Mary (Zoe Perry) did not want to tell him about what happened to Sturgis because she feared he would react badly to the news. She feared that Sheldon (Iain Armitage) could also be susceptible to mental health issues like his mentor with whom he shares a lot in common.
So, instead of telling Sheldon the truth that Sturgis had a mental breakdown and that he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, she said Sturgis was been treated for mononucleosis.
When she talked about the subject of mental health with Sheldon, he misunderstood her concern and thought she was talking about herself. Concerned about his mother, Sheldon went to a library to research on mental health.
Mary finally took Sheldon to a therapist, where she told him the truth about Dr. Sturgis.
Is Dr. Sturgis leaving Young Sheldon?
It remains unclear whether Dr. Sturgis will appear in upcoming episodes of Young Sheldon Season 3. The showrunners have not commented on whether he will return in Season 3 or in future seasons of the show.
I still can't get over the fact that it's uncertain if actor #WallaceShawn will return as #DrSturgis in #YoungSheldon! @CBS We demand more Dr. Sturgis!
— AdelaDávilaEstelritz (@AdelaDavEstel) September 28, 2019
However, the character’s popularity with fans could make the showrunners bring him back even if they had been contemplating retiring him. So even if Sturgis does not return in Season 3, we could still see more of him in future seasons of the show.
Wallace Shawn is on Young Sheldon tonight and his scenes with Sheldon are so charming I can hardly stand it.
— J (@HeSlimedMeRay) April 20, 2018
Vizzini (well, Wallace Shawn) turned up in Young Sheldon…my joy was unconfined.
— Bertram (@Bertie_Wooster) August 28, 2019
What happened to Wallace Shawn and will he return?
Wallace Shawn is the character actor and voice actor best known for playing Vizzini in The Princess Bride (1987). He also played James Hall in Clueless (1995) and voiced the winsome T-Rex for the Toy Story franchise. His TV credits, besides Dr. John Sturgis in Young Sheldon, include his role as the leader of the Ferengi, Grand Nagus Zek, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999). He also played Cyrus Rose in Gossip Girl (2008-2012), and Taotie in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011-2016).
Speculation over whether Shawn’s character, Dr. John Sturgis, will return to the show could be linked to concerns about the actor, who is 75 years old (born November 12, 1943). However, the showrunners have not hinted that he has left for good.
Fans have noted that his character’s exit could be due to a busy schedule. Shawn joined the cast of Woody Allen’s upcoming comedy film, Rifkin’s Festival in June 2019. Filming began in July in San Sebastian, Spain, and ended in late August. The movie is due for release in 2020.
A Twitter message, posted on September 25, also indicated that he would not be able to attend Hal-Con 2019, scheduled to start on October 25, due to a busy filming schedule.
Sad to announce that due to filming, Wallace Shawn will be unable to join us for Hal-Con 2019. We know you will all be disappointed – we are as well – but please know that our guest team is already hard at work looking for a new guest.
— Fat Apollo (@realfatapollo) September 26, 2019
Commenting on how Sheldon will adjust to Sturgis’ absence, executive producer Steven Molaro told TV Insider that “Sheldon furthers his education by setting up his own secret classroom in a broom closet [at school].”
Young Sheldon airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.